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Ooey-Gooey Dark Chocolate Espresso Date Oat Bars

BY PFD PE, Ambitious Kitchen

Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen!


For the filling:
1 1/2 cups packed pitted Medjool dates
1 1/4 cup hot water
2 teaspoons espresso powder or instant coffee granules (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the base:
1 1/2 cups gluten free oat flour
1 cup gluten free oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar (or sub coconut sugar)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or sub melted vegan butter or regular butter)
3 oz your favorite dark chocolate bar (at least 70%), coarsely chopped (dairy free/vegan, if desired) OR sub 1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper so that you're able to easily remove the bars after. This is important! Grease the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
Prepare the filling first: Add dates, hot water, espresso powder and vanilla to a high-powered blender and blend until mostly smooth, about 2 minutes. It's okay if there are a few chunky pieces of dates. Allow date mixture to cool and thicken up a bit for 5 minutes while you make the base.

To make the oat base and crumble: in a large bowl, combine oat flour, oats, brown sugar baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in melted coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly. Measure out 1 cup of the mixture and set aside in a small bowl (this will be for the topping). Press the remaining mixture into the prepared pan; you'll need to press hard to ensure that all of the mixture will stick together well.
Gently spread date mixture evenly on top of the base crust. Sprinkle on chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips) then sprinkle the reserved oat topping over the top.

Bake bars for 30-35 minutes or until top is set and slightly golden brown.

If you'd like you can also sprinkle the chocolate with a tiny bit of coarse sea salt for a salty and sweet combo. Transfer to wire rack to cool for at least an hour to help set the base, then remove from pan to cool completely.

Makes 16 bars.

Bars are best kept covered in the fridge and are delicious when served chilled as well as at room temperature.

 September 25, 2022
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